Google Nest Hub Max Review vs Nest Hub

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Google launched its Nest Hub smart speaker back in late May, introducing the company’s smart speaker with a 7-inch touchscreen display in Canada, priced at $169 CAD.

Fast forward six months later, the Google Nest Hub Max launched earlier this month, offering a larger version of the Nest Hub with a 10-inch touchscreen, front-facing Nest Cam, better speakers and more, for $299 CAD.

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Just how does the Nest Hub Max work and compare to its smaller sibling, the Nest Hub? Google sent us some units to check out, so let’s take a look.

The Nest Hub Max is a larger version of the Nest Hub and includes a built-in Nest Cam (6.5 MP), capable of Nest Aware and facial recognition.

The Nest Cam allows the Next Hub Max to do Duo video calls and send video messages, while also use a face match feature to show you personal results of what your day will look like. Users just setup their face match within the Google Home app, similar to Apple’s Face ID setup. You can have six different people setup for face match.

Once camera detects your face, your personalized day and results show up on the Nest Hub Max display. It’s kind of creepy but if you’re all-in with Google services, it’s actually really helpful.

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The addition of the camera also allows hand controls to play or pause music, just by waving your hand. This is on top of Google Assistant being able to bring up search results and also play video from YouTube.

The Next Hub Max also has assignable reminders, allowing you to assign reminders for family or partners.

Like other Google smart speakers, Nest Hub Max can also control your compatible smart home devices thanks to Google Assistant. It also offers easy and quick access to your other Nest cameras, while also acts as a display when someone rings the doorbell on your Nest Hello Video Doorbell. For the latter, having either a Nest Hub Max or Nest Hub is essential to quickly see and communicate with who’s at the door.

When the Nest Cam is recording, a green LED will appear to indicate someone is watching or recording. The Nest Hub Max camera will also show up as a camera in your Nest app.

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Nest Hub Max also has some decent speakers, a significant upgrade over the smaller Nest Hub. You get stereo speakers facing the front and a 3-inch woofer on the back. We had no problem with Nest Hub Max filling decent sound in a room with respectable bass for its size. Audiophiles may want to look elsewhere if you’re all about sound quality.

One of the best features of the Nest Hub Max, hands down, is its ability to act as a digital picture frame for your Google Photos library. You can customize which albums you want to be shown, or people. On a larger 10-inch HD display, there is a noticeable difference compared to the 7-inch Nest Hub. You get to see more details and your photos are much larger, and makes for a great conversation piece when guests are over.

The Nest Hub Max has a fairly large footprint at 18cm high x 25cm wide, so it’s best suited for a kitchen countertop or other living space, while the Nest Hub is better for a bedroom. Like the Nest Hub, a mic mute button sits behind the top of the display, while physical volume controls are on the back right side.

If you use a lot of Google services such as Gmail, Google Calendar and more, a Nest Hub Max already knows everything about you. There are some downsides to the Nest Hub Max to consider before buying. Your family may not like having the camera in your living space for privacy reasons as it can be creepy when you know dad is watching you from work. But if you have pets, Fido may just have to deal with it.

Also, we found the build quality of the Nest Hub Max, particularly along the top where the display edge meets the plastic bezel, to have inconsistent gaps from the production line. This may be the case for your Nest Hub Max, but it’s something worth mentioning here. It may not be noticeable to casual users of the smart speaker, but only to those examining the device’s build quality.

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A Nest Hub Max is a great addition to the home if you want to constantly relive photo memories hiding within your smartphone. There were so many family photos we totally forgot about and seeing them curated on the 10-inch HD display was pretty neat. Gone are the days of digital picture frames with memory cards.

So should you buy the Nest Hub Max or Nest Hub? If you’re deep into Google services, a Nest Hub Max at home in the living room works well, while a Nest Hub would make an excellent desktop companion at the office.

The Nest Hub Max is regularly priced at $299 CAD which is fairly pricey, but it’s on par with Amazon’s 10-inch Echo Show, sold at the same price. However, Black Friday will see the speaker drop $50 to $249.99 at most retailers and in Google’s online store. The smaller Nest Hub will be available for as low as $89 CAD each from various retailers for Black Friday.

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